Foodbank warns end of furlough could spark ‘tremendous’ rise in demand
“Just as things look to be easing, demand is increasing” - that is the stark warning from an Ipswich foodbank founder as Covid-19 restrictions continue to be eased.
While social distancing and face masks remain a feature of life for the foreseeable future, more people will return to some kind of normality this week - as schools return and many workers are urged to go back to offices.
But Maureen Reynel - founder of Families In Need (FIND) in Ipswich, which runs a foodbank alongside other support services - said: “Just as things look to be easing, we find that people who have been furloughed - and not - are being laid off for various reasons and the demand is increasing yet again.”
Unemployment in Ipswich nearly doubled between March and June this year, rising by 3,000 - with many more seeing their income plummet while on furlough.
Ms Reynel, who founded FIND more than 30 years ago and last year moved the charity into larger, brand new premises to meet rising demand, has thanked all those who have donated and volunteered during the crisis.
“As you will be aware, things are a lot different now,” she said.
“Since February, our world has changed and the demand for the services of FIND, here in Ipswich and the surrounding areas, have increased tremendously.
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“Covid-19 has meant that a lot of regular volunteers have had to step down from their roles.
“This has been made up for by the number of people that have been furloughed from their work, stepping up and filling the gaps at the foobank.
“I have been so grateful for the generosity of individuals and businesses in coming forward with donations of food and money (to buy food), and time to volunteer during these past months.”
However, she said that far from being over, the crisis might only just be beginning.
Ms Reynel said the charity needs delivery drivers on a regular basis in the weeks and months ahead.
“Please stay safe, act wisely and if you can, continue to support FIND as we continue to need food and money donations to help those less fortunate in Ipswich and the surrounding area,” she added.
Waitrose and Sainsbury’s Warren Heath supermarkets, plus more than 20 Co-op stores in Ipswich and Suffolk, have foodbank drop-off points in their stores.
People can also visit FIND’s website for more information.
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